Sunday, September 25, 2016

Turning Your Cheek

September 25 (Matthew 5:39)

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  (ESV)

Violence.  It has become the headline of the day.  We have shooting and murder rates in major American cities that make them seem like the centers of war.  Looting and the wanton destruction of property fill the images of our nightly news.  Sadly, much of the violence is seen as an attempt to balance the scales of justice.

What does not make the news is the vastly greater number of acts of quiet violence.  I am maligned by one person I know and cannot wait to get him back by savaging him in conversation with a mutual friend.  The boss institutes a foolish plan, one that I in my infinite wisdom would have known better than to try, so I cut her down to size with every colleague I can find.   And God help the poor person who posts something on social media that offends me, for I shall repost that comment laced with my own scathing commentary in the hope that person never again touches a keyboard.

We must, of course, speak out against what is truly wrong.  We must use the gifts God has given us and join Him in the work of seeing His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  Yet the vast majority of violence in our day, from large acts of chaos to personal acts of verbal vengeance, are not about that.  They are about slapping someone who has slapped us, and Jesus is quite clear on that point.  Don’t.

Father, grant me wisdom to see the difference between a personal insult that I should forgive and let go and a matter of genuine injustice that You call me to address.  May my words and actions be spent entirely in Your work and not in advancing my own agenda.  In the name of Jesus, Who suffered the greatest injustice of all by allowing my sin to nail Him to a cross, amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

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